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Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren’t Using But Should

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Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren’t Using But Should

By Tom Stein, Professor, Professional Music Department, Berklee College of Music

 

Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren't Using But Should

Big Success Secrets For Booking Gigs You Aren’t Using But Should

You’ve gotten to the point where your music abilities are strong enough as a group to play out in front of an audience. You know that getting on stage will be the next necessary step to improving your act’s tightness. At this stage it is super-important to get the band playing live in order to generate enthusiasm and momentum. Getting a gig is the next logical move in your development as a band. Yet, because you have never done it, you don’t know how. It’s the old “Catch-22” conundrum: you need experience to get the gig, but you need a gig to get experience. What to do?

First, take a deep breath, and relax. Realize that every single person or band that is amazing at doing anything started out from the same place. For even the most incredible musicians, there was once a time that they couldn’t play their instrument at all. Just like you, they had to begin somewhere. You really have no choice other than to begin from exactly where you are. There are a number of things that have to happen before you actually take to the stage (I’ll list them a bit later in this article). You should first take an inventory to see where you are.

What are your band’s strong points and weak points? What do you hope to gain from playing a live show? Do you have all the equipment you will need? Do you have transportation for yourselves and your equipment? How far are you willing to travel? What do you estimate your expenses will be? These are logistical questions that will help give you some bearings on the type of gig most appropriate for you to go after. I would recommend that you write some things down, and create some useful lists or diagrams.

There are other important considerations. For example, what style of music do you play? How many songs or sets can you perform? Is your music primarily for listening, dancing, or background? Have you created a digital footprint for your music that will allow you to publicize your gig properly, ensuring that an audience will come? Or will you seek a gig at a venue with a built in audience, like a festival? Should you get paid?

I recommend that you make your approach as professional as possible. If you have prepared your logistical plan and know what type of audience you are trying to reach, you will be prepared to speak confidently and knowledgeably about all aspects of your intended performance with prospective venues, clubs, clients or festival directors. If they see that you are well prepared, they are more likely to give you a chance. It is important that you can tell them about what you do in a cohesive way, speaking articulately about why an audience will enjoy your music, why it is in their interest to hire you, and what’s in it for them. Try as best as possible to think from their point of view. With your speech you can paint a picture for them of the opportunity you are offering them, either to make money, enhance their reputation, or just have a lot of fun. Don’t be arrogant about it; just state the facts, and do your best to sell your band, keeping their interests in mind.

While you are preparing to sell your band, you will need to do some research into the opportunities that exist. If you know musicians who are playing out already, ask them where the best places are to play. Check listings in local entertainment guides, and go check out some bands. Hang around the venues as a customer to get a feel for what is going on. Talk to the managers and staff to find out who is responsible for booking. Try to figure out what will fit best in each venue and be prepared to offer that with a strong conviction that you can provide what the venue needs. When you do get in contact with the responsible party, present yourself in a businesslike manner. Dress the part. Shake hands, look people in the eye, and speak with confidence about your music. This usually takes a little practice.

Don’t be discouraged if you get rejected. Failure is an opportunity to start over more intelligently. Analyze what happened and make adjustments to your pitch for the next prospect. Observe how other musicians sell themselves if you are able to. Understand that adversity makes you stronger, and just keep at it, no matter what. Even if you fail a hundred times, you might very well book a gig on the 101st time!

At some risk of oversimplification, we can explain the steps of getting to a gig onstage into a few stages. Using terms relative to the music business, there is: preparation, sourcing, pitching (selling), negotiating, agreement, performance, and follow through. The preparation stage involves taking inventory as described above, plus getting the music tightly arranged and well rehearsed. It might be wise to create some sharp promotional materials. Sourcing means figuring out the places you want to play, doing your homework on them and getting in contact with the person doing the booking.

Pitching your music is talking about what you do, as previously described. You have to sell yourself, your band and your music; you do this by using words intelligently and enthusiastically. You will learn to talk about your music in such a way as to give those listening confidence in your abilities and talent. Closing an agreement usually requires executing some sort of contract, whether verbal or written. Sometimes this is called an “event confirmation”, or similar. The agreement exists to protect both sides through stipulating responsibilities and rights, and clarifying terms. To get to an agreement, a negotiation must first take place. Negotiating is an art form, and is a necessary part of human commerce and transaction.

Performing is where you deliver the goods as promised. If you do this well, you will find that each gig leads to more gigs. People like what they see and hear, tell others about you, and your reputation grows. Of course, if you mess this part up, you won’t last long in the business. So it pays to pay attention to all the details, and do your best to do a fantastic job that everyone will rave about. You are only as good as your last performance.

Follow-through is the last step, and often neglected by musicians. After the gig, you should always contact the venue and booking person to thank them and make sure they were happy. Listen carefully to what they tell you. Any complaints or suggestions for improvement should be taken to heart as they are giving you a chance to better yourself. You can ask them for future gigs and for referrals.

As you begin to see, there is more work to getting gigs than might at first meet the eye. Especially in the beginning, it can be tough to get momentum with booking gigs. It can feel a little like pushing a boulder uphill. The rewards can be tremendous, however. There is nothing like the electricity that happens between a good band and an audience, and the energizing effect it can have on a band. Playing live shows can also be frustrating, such as when an audience doesn’t respond. It is always a learning experience, in any case, and always worth doing.

 

-Tom Stein is a visionary musical entrepreneur, music producer, artist development consultant, arranger, bandleader and performer on electric bass, voice and guitar. He is also a professional educator; he teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and is the founder of Music Connectivity, a cultural diplomacy firm. www.tomstein.com

 

For more information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), please go to: http://www.inacoustic.com

 

 

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How a Vocal Producer Can Spark Your Next Recording

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By Jeannie Deva

Warren Hunt, Producer; Rena Lovelis, Singer; Jeannie Deva, Vocal Producer in a recording studio

Warren Hunt, Producer; Rena Lovelis, Singer; Jeannie Deva, Vocal Producer in a recording studio

When I mention “record producer” or “recording engineer” to just about anyone in the music business, I usually get an understanding nod. If, however, I say “vocal producer,” more often than not, I see looks of uncertainty about who that is and what they do.

What is it about the vocals that would necessitate a vocal producer? A guitarist doesn’t need a guitar producer, so what about the vocals is different? 

Starting in the mid 1980’s, my involvement with producing recorded vocals began as a response to singers coming to me complaining of difficulties in the studio. They were blowing-out and not giving the performance their producer was trying to get from them and recording sessions were arduously dragging on well beyond projected budgets. Over the years my involvement advanced into a more encompassing role––that of vocal producer. 

In this article I’ll share with you tips and advice from my own experience working with singers in the studio as well as those of several of my colleagues who are Multiplatinum, Grammy-winning engineers, producers and A&R reps. In the end I hope you will gain an understanding of how a vocal producer might help you record hit songs and when it would be appropriate to involve one in your project.  

Let’s start from the beginning. What’s so special about the vocals? What is it about studio singing that would require a specialist? 

Vocals Sell the Song
“It’s the singer, not the song,” sang Mick Jagger way back when. Well, okay––the song DOES matter, but I think you get the point: The singer is the focal point of any recording. No matter how great the rest of your band, the audience usually recognizes you by the sound of your singer.

On your recording, the sound, style, personality and performance of the vocal must be of utmost quality. If so, it will capture attention and interest, building your audience and making hit songs possible for you. In fact, if the singer really knows his/her craft and the recording captures it properly, it’s even possible to transform a “ho-hum” song into something fresh and memorable: such is the potential of an expressive, musical and passionate singer

Studio Singing
Singing in the studio is an art unto itself. As anyone who has both live stage performance and recording experience knows, studio vocal recording is vastly different. To start with, the voice is an acoustic instrument. It is “played” based on how the singer hears herself. There’s a sonic loop between ears and mind that is intuitively used by the singer to monitor the muscle actions of their voice. The many components involved in studio recording can and will influence not only how you sing––affecting your vocal performance—but how you end up sounding on playback. In addition, the choices of gear and various “tricks of the trade,” can greatly influence the sound quality of the vocal recording.

Singer or Setup?
Sometimes the singer is just not ready to go into the studio and lay down an amazing vocal performance; they need more pre-production on the songs and possibly more vocal technique and exercise to develop their voice and sing more freely. But just as often, during my years of coaching and producing singers in studios around the world, I’ve witnessed many producers and engineers who thought the singer was subpar when the actual source of the difficulty was poor choice of gear and inappropriate studio set-up.

In one of the first recording sessions I was brought into, the vocalist was having a great deal of difficulty singing the high notes on pitch and without strain. The producer kept whispering to me that the singer had a big pitch problem. After a few takes that were pretty bad, I went into the vocal booth, put on the headphones and asked for the track to begin playing. As I tried singing into the mic, I found that the EQ cut off the treble part of the sound spectrum. This made singing the higher notes impossible! I directed a change in the headphone EQ so as to “open” the treble and instantly the singer had no pitch problems.

The Two Sides of Vocal Recording
There are two sides to vocal recording: the singer’s performance and the technical production. The choice of recording gear and technical set-up joins the two sides together. If you add musical arrangement, instrumentation and post-production that are all conceived to support the singer and the song message––voilà! You have a final result that can be truly exciting.

To help the singer capture the most outstanding vocal performance possible, each element of the vocal signal chain or pathway must be uniquely chosen and matched to the specific attributes of the singer. This signal path typically includes: type of mic and headphones, type of preamp and setting, make and model of compressor (some are smoother and less obtrusive than others), the EQ, the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, a type of recording software such as Logic or Pro Tools). Even the type of cables, such as those made by Blue or Monster, can make a difference in the sound.

Prior to entering the studio, singers have enough to deal with just practicing and developing their song performances without also having to get trained in the technology of vocal recording and studio gear. And once in the studio, the undistracted focus should be on their singular role and achievement of vocal performance. So, who ya gonna call?

Enter the Vocal Producer–The Recording Artist’s Secret Weapon
A good vocal producer knows the difference between a great vocal performance—one that truly sells the song—versus one that could be better and specifically how it could be better so as to help the singer make it great. Understanding rhythm, phrasing, harmony, note choice and music structure would be part of this skill. By the time the session is over, the vocal producer makes sure there is enough selection of performance takes to create the perfect vocal compilation in the editing and mixing. Toward the end, while the session is underway, every second of each vocal pass is accounted for by the vocal producer ensuring everything will add up to a stunning vocal performance.

To achieve trust and maintain teamwork with the singer, a vocal producer needs good communication skills and has to know how to give constructive criticism and positive reinforcement that is honest. As the multi-Grammy-winning vocal producer Kuk Harrell says, “It’s never, ‘Man you screwed up.’ I can tell Jennifer [Lopez] she’s not singing it the right way without telling her that she’s not singing it the right way.”

In speaking with my colleagues, I’ve found that the description of the vocal producer’s role has variations. Some vocal producers also wear the hat of engineer concurrent with giving directions and guidance to the singer. But a vocal producer does not need to be an engineer.

Some producers simultaneously wear three hats: producer, engineer and vocal producer. However, especially with less experienced engineers/producers who don’t have training as a singer or vocal coach, I’ve observed that trying to do those jobs at the same time can compromise the production of the final vocal. And there are many vocal producers who, like me, prefer to focus all of our attention on the singer and so work in tandem with an engineer and the producer of the overall recording project.

Regardless of our differences, on one thing we all agree: A vocal producer is there to elicit the emotion, style, believability and best performance from the singer during studio recording.

The Importance of a Second Set of Ears
AGT finalist of 2013, singer and award-winning songwriter Deanna DellaCioppa knows both sides of studio vocal production. She has been the vocal producer for sessions with such notables as Sophia Grace (60 million YouTube views) and Paula Abdul. Deanna has extensive studio experience singing background vocals for artists such as Celine Dion and, most recently, multiple backing vocals for Justin Bieber’s song “Prayer.”

We can be our own worst critic,” she told me. “I do not enjoy vocal producing [my own performance] while I’m in the booth for this reason; having a second set of ears outside the booth helps tremendously. As the singer I only want to focus on giving a solid, emotion-filled vocal. I do not want to focus on keeping track of which takes were best, what harmony I should use or the overall vocal arrangement.”

Khaliq Glover (aka Khaliq-O-Vision), producer, Grammy-winning engineer (Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Prince) and mixing specialist shared this with me: “Making a record that communicates and connects with an audience that can’t see you face-to-face is a skill that takes time to develop and it usually needs external guidance. You have to nail a combination of feeling, being on pitch, being on rhythm, having dynamics, having great tone and breathing in the right place. That’s a lot, and it can mess with your head unless you have somebody who can help you keep your eye on the prize and not let you get down on yourself.

The vocal producer,” he continues, “is there to guide and extract the performance from the singer, which also includes the quality of their voice during various sections of the song. Understanding the difference can go a long way towards capturing an awesome performance. Connection to the lyrics is probably the biggest key to a great performance and a great vocal producer will always make sure that the singer is actually feeling what they are singing so that the emotion comes through.”

The Session Vocal Coach
If the producer is not also an experienced session singer or trained voice teacher, as I am, involving a vocal coach in your recording sessions could be a wise move. I’ve heard any number of faulty directions given to singers by producers that include what to do physically to get a certain vocal sound. As the producer was not a trained voice teacher or coach, many of these directions were in fact making singing more difficult.

A vocal coach who knows how the voice works and is armed with techniques to help the singer use their voice freely without blow-out can make a huge difference in the studio. While a vocal producer will give directions pertaining to performance and style, the vocal coach helps the singer know how to do that. I recently worked on a project at Capitol Records with Warren Huart (Multiplatinum producer/vocal producer, mixer, engineer and A&R consultant for Capitol Records) and this is what he had to say: “The best vocal coaches I have worked with have helped to put the artist at ease and warm up their voice without straining them. If an artist has already established a long-term successful relationship with a vocal coach, it can be a great benefit to have them present, especially at the start of a vocal session.”

A session vocal coach or a vocal producer who is additionally a vocal technique expert will be able to help the singer nail the performance while assisting the singer to troubleshoot any vocal or equipment problems that would hinder a free and expressive vocal performance.

Here’s a story to illustrate: Recently a singer studying voice technique with me arrived complaining about a recording session she’d had the previous night. The producer was trying to get her to sing the pre-choruses in a breathy voice but kept telling her that in doing so, her volume was too low. To remedy the lower volume, he told her to “push” her voice out while singing breathy.

The result was that her voice soon blew out, they didn’t get what he wanted for the pre-chorus and in her lesson the next day I had to rehabilitate her voice. Breathy singing is a subdued sound and it cannot be done loudly without straining the voice. If I had been present in the studio, I would have tracked the breathy pre-choruses separately from the rest of the song so that the recording levels could be raised. In the lesson I showed her how to cup her mouth with her hands so that her breathy sound would be amplified by the microphone. Using that technique in the next day’s session, she gave her producer the sound and feel he was looking for without having to “push” and blow out her voice.

In the Studio
• Set-up: The first thing your vocal producer will do together with the engineer is set up the session. Determining the correct match of mic for you can take about 20 minutes of trying out several to determine the one that brings out the best in your voice. When multiple songs are part of the project, the same mic will normally be used for continuity of sound throughout the album or EP. Once the mic has been matched and the headphone mix is comfortable for you to sing easily, the actual session starts.

Coordinate with the Producer: It is important that everyone is on the same page. “You must all have the same vision for the song,” says Deanna DellaCioppa. “If you (producer, vocal producer and singer/rapper) do not share the same vision for the end result, this is a huge problem. The producer generally has final say over the final product, so it is the vocal producer’s job to be sure that is captured from the singer.”

Go for Performance: The entire focus of the singer should be on the performance, not on technique. Any vocal “glitches” can always be fixed in one of three ways: 1. Digital editing such as using auto tuner software. 2. A compilation track for the lead vocal created later (selecting the best sections of different “takes”) 3. ”Punching” (to re-record that phrase or section).

Full Takes or Sections?: As many of us do, Warren Huart decides on his session approach based on the singer and the song: “Some singers can perform songs best in single, full takes. Some songs and/or singers require recording the song in sections. You have to be open to trying different things to find the best approach for the situation and not just using one methodology.”  As I mentioned earlier, when a song has big contrasts in volume, I prefer to record them separately. This allows the engineer to set the input volume correctly for each section so that the singer can use the appropriately contrasting vocal approaches

The Final Track: Once the vocal producer is certain that several choices of great performances have been tracked for each part of the song, the singer’s job is done and the editing and compilation begins. The ears and objectivity of a good vocal producer are invaluable in searching through all the vocal takes just recorded, fixing notes as needed and piecing together sections to make up the final track.

Last Steps: With the vocal compilation track completed, mixing and then mastering are the important final steps. As long as the tracking has been done right, you’ll have all the ingredients needed for your mixing engineer and producer to create the magic. But that’s a subject for another day.

Who Uses Vocal Producers?
Kuk Harrell is the vocal producer for artists such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. Warren Huart has vocal produced artists such as: Isaac Slade (the Fray), James Blunt, Marc Broussard, Tori Kelly and Ace Frehley (formerly of Kiss). But you don’t have to be an artist signed to a record label to use a vocal producer. It depends upon whether you want to achieve a level of quality that a record label would consider good enough to represent, distribute and broadcast.

Aubrey Whitfield, a British producer, mix engineer and founder of London-based indie label 2ube Records, explains something I’ve heard echoed by other labels: “If you approach me and you have a release-ready record that doesn’t need re-recording, then that’s going to catch my attention. Why? …. We won’t have to re-record you. So think smartly and produce something that competes with current Top 40 releases and you’ll be halfway there.”

For lesser budget projects still striving to have the edge of radio-ready songs, you might consider tracking your instruments in your home or project studio. Then track your vocals with a vocal producer in a pro-studio and complete the recording with a mixing/mastering specialist.

The Business of Hiring
Vocal producers and session vocal coaches are hired in any number of different ways. They are hired by artists, labels, managers and even publishers to work by the hour, at a flat rate per song or for the entire project. “Every project is different; there is no [standard] cost,” Warren Huart shared with me. “Also, I generally receive points on album sales. Points fluctuate depending on whether you are working on just the vocal or the whole track plus the vocals.”

Producer points are a percentage of royalties received for working on a commercially sold album. A point would be equal to one percent of the retail or wholesale price of an album. One or two points would be typical, but superstar producers such as Kuk Harrell can demand higher percentages. Indeed, a 2012 New York Times article included: “Having the certainty of Mr. Harrell’s ear comes with a price: several thousand dollars per song and, more significant, a cut of the royalties.”

Since production can also get into co-writing, arranging, etc. and this goes beyond points and enters into publishing rights, anything can be negotiated into a contract. Just make sure you enlist a qualified entertainment attorney if contracts are involved.

(Article reprinted by permission of Music Connection Magazine)

About the Author

JEANNIE DEVA is a Grammy member, the originator of The Deva Method®, Complete Voice Technique for Stage and Studio™, a published author, a graduate in composition and arranging from Berklee College of Music and a recording studio vocal producer/vocal coach endorsed by engineers and producers of, among others, Aerosmith, Elton John, Bette Midler, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. Based in Los Angeles, she also coaches online worldwide and travels on location. For info: JeannieDeva.com, @JeannieDeva

For More information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com

 

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13 Tips: How to Prepare for a Live Vocal Performance

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How to Prepare for a Live Vocal Performance

13 Tips from Celebrity Voice and Performance Coach, Jeannie Deva

 

 

12 Tips: How to Prepare for a Live Vocal Performance

Tips: How to Prepare for a Live Vocal Performance

An impressive performance appears effortless to the degree that the artist has put effort into the preparation of every detail.

 

It is a given that you’ll learn your songs musically and lyrically before you perform them, but don’t neglect to practice the performance of your show.

 

A show is a multi-media presentation. How it is performed should include visual and other sensory perceptions for your audience.

 

As a project voice and performance coach I’ve helped an array of talent, from rising stars to Grammy winning recording artists, prepare for live shows and studio recordings. The following 13 tips are essential guidelines for your impressive performance preparation checklist.

 

Plan Your Performance Set List

 

1) Know your venue: Creating a set list for a small intimate coffee house requires different planning than for a stadium concert. The dynamics and energy potential is vastly different between the two. Before you create your set list find out as much as you can about the venue and its vibe.

 

2) Know your set length: Clock the playing time of each of your songs. Then determine how many songs you can play within the required set length. Factor in additional time for up to one minute of applause between each song, any dialogue with the audience, stage adjustments or instrument changes and any other segues. It’s a bit of a mathematical estimation that improves as you get more experience doing it. Also plan an extra song or two for encores or just in case they ask you to play longer.

 

3) Know any equipment and size limitations of the venue: You may have been booked to perform in clubs with a different electrical voltage than your equipment or other types of unforeseen limitations. A band I coached once mixed tracks from their iPad in with their live band sound. When they arrived to play one of the gigs on their tour, the venue was not equipped to connect iPad to the sound system. Needless to say, the stress and pressure of having to figure out what to play and how to play it made for an unpleasant evening for the band and unprofessional show for the audience. Make a list of your needs and check with your booking contacts so that you solve equipment and facility issues before you arrive at the venue.

 

4) Know your audience: Depending upon how many shows you have done and how long you have had fans, you hopefully will know what songs in your repertoire get the best responses. Plan to use your most popular songs as the emotional peaks of your set to create dynamic motion in your show. If you’re opening for another band, familiarize yourself with their music. Then design your set to both complement and contrast with their music in such a way as to possibly win over their fans. This is a great way to expand your fan base.

 

5) Determine your opening and ending numbers: Think of your opening and closing songs like bookends. A set should start with a song that grabs the attention of your audience and end with a song that either rouses or calms them to the energy level you want them to have when they leave the venue. Then arrange the rest of the set to navigate your audience through planned emotional transformations – from one bookend to another – based upon the tempo, key changes, subject matter and instrumentation of your songs.

 

 

12 Tips: How to Prepare for a Live Vocal Performance

Tips: How to Prepare for a Live Vocal Performance

6) Vary your vocal range: Even though your songs keys may be different, it’s common for a singer’s melodies to center in the strongest area of their vocal range. If this is true of your music, you may want to find a way of varying this with a song that brings the voice lower or higher or in some way gives the listener a sonic contrast which will help maintain their interest.

 

Practice the Performance of Your Set

 

7) Practice technical as well as performance skills: Attention to the technical aspects of a song is of course part of how you develop it. Improving any needed vocal technique to sing a song well is or course important, but so is honing performance skill.

 

Once you know a song begin singing it as though you were doing so in front of your audience. The more you practice as though singing to the audience the more your song will come to life. Often your phrasing and vocal tone will improve as will your emotional consistency when you practice singing to someone. This is because singing is communicating and that is done TO someone. Practicing as though you’re ON stage and singing TO people – your voice will naturally become more expressive. Doing this will influence your phrasing and tone because these are now aligned to their purpose of expressing something to someone. This kind of practice bridges the gap between rehearsal and performance.

 

8) Practice your set in set order: Once you’ve achieved comfort singing each song in your set, it’s important to rehearse in set order. While doing so look for and make adjustments as needed: Ensure you like the energy and emotional flow and sequence of your selected song order; explore your dynamics within each song and from one song to the next; decide between which songs that you’ll speak to your audience. If your set contains equipment changes and utilizes backup singers, group songs in such a way to ensure that any stage changes don’t dampen the momentum of your show.

 

9) Video your rehearsals: Use video to validate your improvement and highlight what needs more work. Analyze your practice videos objectively for the purpose of improving — not to beat yourself up. If something needs more technical attention such as singing higher notes on pitch or better phrasing, go back to working on these issues before further practicing the performance of the song.

 

10) Practice entrances and exits: Also practice how you’re going to walk on stage. At the end of the set, practice how you might walk off stage. Other things to consider: Are you going to have the band start playing and then enter? Are you going to exit while the band is still playing and then reappear for the final applause?

 

11) Practice band/ensemble staging and interaction: Performing is as much visual as it is audio. All aspects when aligned add to the magic and power of your show. This begins in the rehearsal room and then comes fully to life on stage.

 

12) Practice talking to your audience: There are times to talk and times to let your music do the talking for you. If you’re comfortable talking to audiences, I still suggest making decisions on where in your set you’ll do so and decide on a theme. Instead of leading in each song with “I wrote this song…” try saying a few lines about the theme of the next song and then go right into it. Remember, even if you’re expert at talking spontaneously to your audience, talking between numbers changes the energy of your show. If you want to maintain high energy, when you do speak, say less and play more.

 

13) Schedule low pressure gigs: If you’re starting out and want to become a professional level performer, consider booking some low pressure gigs to begin working on your presentation. Musicians rarely if ever make it to the big leagues without a lot of playing out. As you perform, you’ll raise your level of expertise, reinforce your strengths and discover those areas in which you need further development. Live performance keeps your rehearsals and personal practice focused on what really needs improvement. Remedy any shortcomings, get better, gig out again and step by step you’ll become a top professional.

 

Cheering you on to success!

Jeannie Deva

 

Jeannie Deva is a celebrity voice and performance coach, Grammy member, author and recording studio vocal specialist who has worked with and been endorsed by engineers and producers of Aerosmith, Elton John, Bette Midler, Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones. Seen on E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels, Jeannie has been interviewed as a celebrity guest on talk shows in the US, Europe and Venezuela. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed “Contemporary Vocalist” series and “Deva Method Vocal Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs” CD and her eBook: “Singer’s Guide to Powerful Performances.” Jeannie teaches privately in Los Angeles as well as online worldwide. For more information on services, products for singers and her popular singer’s blog, visit: www.JeannieDeva.com

For more information of the 11th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com/entry.html

 

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7th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) Announced

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David Francey

David Francey, Top Winner of 7th Annual IAMA

Scottish-born Canadian, David Francey won top honors at the 7th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) by winning the overall grand prize as well as the first prize in the Folk category. David also won three Juno awards up to date. Francey also had the honour of receiving the prestigious SOCAN Folk Music Award.

David Francey was born in 1954 in Ayrshire, Scotland, where as a paper boy he got his first taste of the working life. He learned to read at an early age, and by age eleven was devouring the newspapers he delivered. This helped establish his interest in politics and world events while developing the social conscience that forms the backdrop of his songs.

He was twelve when his family immigrated to Toronto. He says he can trace his love of the land, the history, and the people of his adopted country to weekend family drives exploring southern Ontario. Music played a large part in these family outings. They sang traditional Scottish tunes as they drove through the Canadian countryside. Dad and sister Muriel sang melody, while mother and David sang harmonies. His website can be viewed at:
http://www.davidfrancey.com

Other notable winners inclue: Justin Rutledge (Canada), Joachim Nordensson & Brooke Wandler (USA), Roland Albertson (South Africa), Luke Doucet & The White Falcon (Canada) and virtuoso guitarist Tim Farrell (USA)

Here is the list of winners of 7th Annual IAMA:

OVERALL GRAND PRIZE WINNER:
The Waking Hour – David Francey

FOLK
1st Prize: The Waking Hour – David Francey
Runner-up: Be A Man – Justin Rutledge

BEST GROUP/DUO
1st Prize: I Was With You – Joachim Nordensson & Brooke Wandler
Runner-up: Come Home To Me – Alathea

BEST MALE ARTIST
1st Prize: Broken – Roland Albertson
Runner-up: Last Love – Shane Cooley

BEST FEMALE ARTIST
1st Prize: Firecracker – Kelly Zullo
Runner-up: Faking Your Best – Suzy Connolly

COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS
1st Prize: We Don’t Smell the Home Fires Anymore – Horseshoe Road
Runner-up: What Life’s Like (Without You) – Stewart Burrows

AAA/ALTERNATIVE
1st Prize: Thinking People – Luke Doucet & The White Falcon
Runner-up: The Beast Within – Reed Waddle

OPEN/AOG
1st Prize: The Most Beautiful Fear – Laura Hoover
Runner-up: Joe’s Bayou – Boomslang Swampsinger

INSTRUMENTAL
1st Prize: Rosewood Alley – Tim Farrell
Runner-up: Once Upon A Western Sky – John Standefer

Artists are judged based on music performance, music production, artistry and songwriting. For more information, visit:
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Vocal Tips for Studio Recording, by Jeannie Deva

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Jeannie Deva in studio with Mandy Moore

Jeannie Deva in studio with Mandy Moore

The voice is the signature of a band. Over time songs will change, the musical style may even vary, but fans can always recognize their favorite bands by the lead singer’s sound. How to achieve a recorded vocal track that has much personality, punch and power as in a live performance is often the illusive “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” sought after by many a producer. While there is much that goes into this, here are two pointers taken from my twenty-two years experience as a recording session vocal coach and thirty-three years teaching singers of all styles.
The Art of Recording
Headset mix and mic choice make an incredible difference in how you perform and the ease with which you are able to sing (or not). Take the time to work with your engineer and get it adjusted at the beginning of the vocal session. Work on it until you have absolutely no attention on the mix and can perform undistracted. It is about how you, not the engineer, like the sound and volume in your headset. On occasion, the brand of headset can cause an alteration of the natural EQ (EQ: Equalization = deals with the balance or alteration of low, mid-range and high frequencies) of your voice making it sound thinner, bassier, or muffled. Try singing with several different brands of headsets. When you find one you like for its fit, weight and sound, you might buy one of your own and bring it to your sessions. Each mic treats sound differently. True for both studio and stage, the mic you use must be matched to your vocal characteristics. If not you can find yourself unconsciously manipulating throat muscles as you fight the tonal alterations made by the mic. Sometimes the problem is not the fault of the headset or mic but the result of incorrect or non-existent vocal warm-up and poor vocal technique leading to strain, pitchyness and lack of vocal ease. In this case, rushing into the studio before being ready reaps frustration, disappointment and wasted money.
Song Delivery and Performance Skills
Through your recorded track, you must attract your listener’s attention. Your voice and emotion must reach out through the recording and create an emotional effect. To achieve this, when you sing in the studio you must bring to your song the same energy and believability that your audience would expect of you in a live performance. This is also why I recommend that artists perform their material to live audiences prior to going into the studio. To help your song have presence and energy even though recorded in the more “sterile” environment of a studio, you must create the illusion of singing to someone. Don’t create mental image pictures of someone and sing to the person in your mind. That will diminish your energy and the vitality of the song as it removes you from the present. Sing the song as though the person is in front of you now. It is up to you, the singer, to integrate all the components of singing, performing and recording to reach through the track and connect and engage your listening audience.
Jeannie Deva is a celebrity master voice and performance coach as well as a recording studio vocal specialist. She has worked with and is endorsed by engineers and producers of Aerosmith, Elton John, Bette Midler, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. Seen on E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels, Jeannie has been interviewed as a celebrity guest on talk shows internationally. She is the author of the globally acclaimed “Contemporary Vocalist” series and “Deva Method Vocal Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs” CD. Creator of the internationally acclaimed Deva Method®, Complete Vocal Technique for Stage and Studio™, certified Deva Method teachers are located on east and west coasts of the U.S. and in Sydney, Australia. Clients include Grammy award winners, Multi-Platinum Recording Artists, American Idol Finalists, Rock Band Icons J. Geils Band and Foghat, singers for Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Sting, Pink, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera and more. Deva’s private voice studios are located in Brentwood, CA and “The Valley”in Los Angeles. She also consults and teaches singers around the world via Internet web cam.
© 2010. Jeannie Deva and The Deva Method are registered trademarks and owned by Jeannie Deva Enterprises, Inc.
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